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A Pilgrimage to Elvis Presley’s USA

California, Tennessee, Mississippi, Nevada, Hawaii

A Pilgrimage to Elvis Presley’s USA

By: Eli Ellison

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  • States:
    California
    Tennessee
    Mississippi
    Nevada
    Hawaii

Elvis Presley famously sang of a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of Lonely Street

Decades after his passing, devotees of The King of Rock ’n’ Roll won’t be alone as they join like-minded fans clamoring to visit locales across the United States where Presley made history. Perhaps no other 20th-century rock star enjoys such enduring popularity. From his iconic Graceland estate to the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, slip on your blue suede shoes and revel in all things Elvis.

Graceland — Memphis, Tennessee

Though Elvis departed for rock ’n’ roll heaven in 1977, his spirit and legacy are alive and well at his Graceland estate in the southern U.S. city of Memphis. Presley’s Colonial-style mansion draws more than 600,000 visitors annually.

Connect with The King: The self-guided mansion tour takes about two hours. Stroll through wonderfully tacky spaces Elvis decorated in the 1970s, then visit a pair of buildings housing gold record awards, stage costumes and personal memorabilia. Pay your respects to The King in the estate’s Meditation Garden, where Presley is buried. Across the street, you’ll find Presley’s two custom jets, the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, a hotel and more. 

Graceland — Memphis, Tennessee

Graceland — Memphis, Tennessee
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Sun Studio — Memphis, Tennessee

In 1953, 18-year-old Elvis walked into the small brick building housing Sun Studio and paid $4 to record two songs as a birthday gift for his mother. A year later, Sun recorded his first hit single, That’s All Right.

Connect with The King: Nicknamed “The Birthplace of Rock and Roll,” the fabled studio offers guided tours of its original recording space, which appears much as it did in the ’50s. For many, the tour’s highlight is posing for a picture holding a vintage microphone used by The King himself.

Sun Studio — Memphis, Tennessee

Sun Studio — Memphis, Tennessee
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Elvis Presley Birthplace — Tupelo, Mississippi

Visitors pay tribute to Elvis at the house where he was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Elvis Aron Presley was born January 8, 1935, in a two-room wooden shack built by his father in Tupelo, a small town in the southern state of Mississippi. The site is about 160 kilometers southeast of Graceland in Memphis.

Connect with The King: On the grassy, wooded grounds, you’ll visit the birthplace home, a museum displaying artifacts from Elvis’ early career and a small wooden church the Presley family once attended.

Elvis Presley Birthplace — Tupelo, Mississippi

Elvis Presley Birthplace — Tupelo, Mississippi
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Oahu, Hawaii

Elvis’ love for the Pacific Ocean island state of Hawaii and its people dates to his first concert on the island of Oahu in 1957. For the next three decades, he’d appear on Oahu either in concert, in movies or on vacation.

Connect with The King: In 1973, Oahu hosted the famed “Aloha from Hawaii” TV concert special, broadcast around the globe. The concert took place in downtown Honolulu at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, where a life-size bronze statue of Elvis stands near the main entrance. Bring a flower lei to drape around his neck, a tradition among fans.

Elvis filmed three movies on the island. Fan favorite Blue Hawaii (1961) features the extinct volcano Diamond Head. Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966) shot scenes among the tropical gardens and lagoons of the Polynesian Cultural Center. After dark, sleep like The King at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, where he stayed on many visits.

Oahu, Hawaii

Oahu, Hawaii
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Las Vegas, Nevada

Perhaps the most iconic entertainer associated with the glitzy city of Las Vegas, Presley performed an incredible 837 consecutive sold-out concerts here from 1969 through 1976. And even casual fans know the city’s unofficial theme song, Viva Las Vegas.

Connect with The King: Wearing his trademark jumpsuits, Elvis performed his record-setting run of concerts at the Las Vegas Hilton, now the Westgate Las Vegas. A bronze statue of The King graces the hotel lobby. Elvis impersonators are fixtures on stages all over town, from the Legends in Concert show at the Flamingo Hotel to the free outdoor concerts at downtown’s Fremont Street Experience.

Once you’ve seen enough Elvis in Las Vegas, take one of these day trips from the city.

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A spectacular cliffside double waterfall
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Destination

Kauai